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Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom…
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Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (1967)

by Tom Stoppard

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5,47658792 (4.21)133
  1. 61
    Hamlet by William Shakespeare (guyalice, kxlly)
    guyalice: Reasons should be obvious
  2. 40
    Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett (guyalice)
    guyalice: Stoppard's play's been called "Waiting for Hamlet," as both are existentialist plays featuring a pair of clueless (yet tragic) idiots.
  3. 20
    The Reduced Shakespeare Co. presentsThe Compleat Works of Wllm Shkspr by William Shakespeare (meggyweg)
  4. 10
    The Real Inspector Hound by Tom Stoppard (palaephata)
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» See also 133 mentions

English (56)  French (1)  All languages (57)
Showing 1-5 of 56 (next | show all)
3
  kutheatre | Jun 7, 2015 |
This play is brilliant and I'm sure it deserves 5 stars. My only reason for knocking it down half a star is that you really can't read it in a vacuum. You have to have some knowledge of Hamlet for it to work.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Hamlet's two childhood friends. This play is written about the time that they are off-stage in the play. Not the time the actors playing these parts are off-stage but the times that the characters are off-stage. Essentially, at those times they have no purpose because the playwright hasn't given them anything to do. This is their search to figure out who they are when there is no script. It's like looking at the back of a piece of tapestry. What matters is what's on the front and everything on the back is just a jumble of seeming meaninglessness.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern aren't even sure who they are when they have no scripted parts. When their parts are on, they speak in brilliant Elizabethan English. When they are off, they struggle to figure out what's going on in the world and the dialogue can get confusing, deliberately so. It's very funny and quite clever. It deals with issues of reality and identity. I don't usually enjoy modernist literature but this is one of my favorite British dramas I've ever read.

If you were to read this cold, with no background, you'd probably give it up like I did years ago when I first had the book. I couldn't make heads or tails of it but with the right bit of knowledge going into it, it's just really fun and thought provoking. Tom Stoppard himself put out a movie version that's available on Youtube with Gary Oldman as Rosencrantz. It doesn't follow the play in every detail but it is great fun to watch. ( )
  Mrsbaty | Apr 16, 2015 |
Absolutely one of my all-time favorite plays. Ridiculously funny and well-crafted. Tom Stoppard has written pure gold here.

What happens to two minor characters when they aren't on stage? That's what Stoppard tries to determine with Hamlet's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, two characters so underdeveloped within the play (because they don't need to be) that they're not even sure which is which. This leads to a deep, but incredibly humorous, philosophical look at what it means to be an actor on the stage, and in life itself.

Completely brilliant! ( )
  regularguy5mb | Nov 2, 2014 |
A first year university English text. ( )
  LynleyS | Oct 25, 2014 |
A play filled with the most cunning and witty English humor I've read in a while. Stoppard delves into the existence of one-scene characters in Shakespeare's work, who are only developed enough to further the plot. His brilliantly written work left me thinking as well as laughing. Definitely worth a read. ( )
  Rosenstern | Sep 14, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 56 (next | show all)
This is a most remarkable play. Very funny. Very brilliant. Very chilling.
added by keeper3014 | editThe New York Times
 
Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead [is] verbally dazzling...the most exciting, witty intellectual treat imaginable.
added by keeper3014 | editThe New Yorker, Edith Oliver
 

» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Tom Stoppardprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Popkin, HenryEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Two ELIZABETHANS passing the time in a place without any visible character.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0802132758, Paperback)

Acclaimed as a modern dramatic masterpiece, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead is the fabulously inventive tale of Hamlet as told from the worm’s-eye view of the bewildered Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, two minor characters in Shakespeare’s play. In Tom Stoppard’s best-known work, this Shakespearean Laurel and Hardy finally get a chance to take the lead role, but do so in a world where echoes of Waiting for Godot resound, where reality and illusion intermix, and where fate leads our two heroes to a tragic but inevitable end.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:00 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Two minor characters from "Hamlet" offer a novel view of the melancholy Dane.

» see all 3 descriptions

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